have received training at the Institute and now serve on board nuclear submarines, surface vessels or at land bases in all of the naval fleets. The Institute has test beds that simulate naval nuclear reactors.
That same year, the Kurchatov Institute proposed to DOE an expansion of the lab-to-lab cooperation program in the area of MPC&A systems for Russian naval installations. After several meetings and talks, the U.S. energy secretary, a Russian naval official and the president of the Kurchatov Institute issued a joint statement in July 1996, declaring in particular that the Russian Defense Ministry and DOE had decided to cooperate in order to “guarantee the highest possible standards of MPC&A for all Russian naval storage sites containing fresh highly enriched nuclear fuel for the Russian Navy’s nuclear reactors.”55 The Kurchatov Institute was responsible for coordinating this work.
The Kurchatov Institute became the link between the Russian Navy and DOE and also took on the role of general subcontractor. What was important was that by this time the Kurchatov Institute and DOE had built up a lot of experience cooperating during the work to upgrade the MPC&A systems at the Institute itself.
Practical work began at several Navy sites in 1998. Upgrading was completed rapidly for fresh nuclear fuel storage facilities belonging to the Northern Fleet (Site 49) and the Pacific Fleet (Site 34). The upgrading of these storage facilities means that all of the highly enriched fresh nuclear fuel is now stored in facilities well equipped with modern MPC&A systems. These storage facilities could be said to be the best of their kind in Russia. Work was then carried out at three floating workshops used for reloading submarine reactors, and work was also conducted to improve physical protection at spent fuel storage facility No. 32 near Vladivostok.
In 2000, the Russian Defense Ministry and DOE concluded an agreement on MPC&A cooperation, and this was followed by the signing of a number of protocols setting out procedures for information handling, access to sites, and so on. In 2001, work began at special Russian naval sites and all of the work planned for the sites selected for cooperation has now been completed.
The MPC&A upgrading program in the Russian Navy is a successful example of using a cooperative program with the United States involving scientific centers in both countries to achieve fruitful cooperation between such complex organizations as the Russian Defense Ministry and DOE in the areas of protection of nuclear materials, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and nuclear terrorism prevention.
The participation of scientific colleagues from large scientific centers in both countries, their creation of joint working groups, even while working at facilities of third parties, brings an atmosphere of cooperation, greater trust and creativity, and allows participants to ‘speak the same language’ to better understand one another, to find new, non-traditional paths toward the resolution of difficulties that may arise, and to achieve better results.
This experience should be taken into consideration and used when preparing new joint Russian-U.S. projects aimed at raising levels of nuclear security, improving the safety culture, consolidating nuclear materials and developing partnership relations in the nuclear sector over the coming years.
The Joint Statement on Cooperation between the Russian MOD and the United States Department of Energy on Control, Accounting, and Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, signed at the seventh meeting of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation on July 15-16, 1996, in Moscow.